Tree plan merely a new tax

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I am appalled by Coun. Sheilagh O’Leary’s promotion of a policy for tree planting and the tree planting fee.

This essentially amounts to a tax for new homeowners that no other homeowners in the city are required to pay.

If she wants more trees, why not create a bylaw that states that every homeowner must have at least two trees on their property, as long as they have the required lot frontage?

If the city needs a budget to plant more trees, why not charge every homeowner some type of arbor tax?

This proposal clearly penalizes one small segment of homeowners in St. John’s.

Of more concern is that this proposal requires new home owners to purchase their trees from the city.

Since when is it appropriate to take away the right of homeowners to purchase their trees from any of the fine horticultural services that already exist in this area?

New homeowners are required to get their driveways paved but are not required to purchase paving services from the city.

If Coun. O’Leary’s proposal is heeded, the city will be taking away business from existing horticultural services.

By the way, I am in the market for a home. Mount Pearl, Paradise and C.B.S. are looking more appealing all the time.

Daniel Spinney

St. John’s

Geographic location: Mount Pearl

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Recent comments

  • Ann
    January 23, 2013 - 15:01

    I wonder who's going to have pay when the water and sewage pipes are choke by the roots of these trees. I bet the city won't.

  • rose
    January 23, 2013 - 10:13

    Are you kiding me??? Why would i plant trees on my property when i don't want them. Another way to drag money out of people, soon we are not going to be able to afford to live in St. John's. Danny Breen putting on the poor mouth, why aren't the "top people" at city hall cutting thier own wages and expense accounts, instead of living high on the hog on our dollar? Instead of making up a new tax, try living on $10.00 an hour like a lot of people living here.

  • Daniel Corbett
    January 22, 2013 - 18:50

    Dear Mr. David, I can assure you that any brain damage I have suffered is a result of the troglodytes I have encountered and endured; they, for the most part, have enjoyed powerful positions in the very parochial and provincial Newfoundland Government and Justice System. The damage I have endured by the Newfoundland Provincial Government is a matter of public record. You, on the other hand, may be suffering brain damage and can’t remember your full name. Why don’t you have the gonads to identify yourself? I read, endure and disregard comments like yours on public toilet walls every day.

    • david
      January 23, 2013 - 09:19

      Notwithstanding the complete irrelevancy of it, identifying myself to someone who freely admits to your issues....ummm, no.. But it is good to know that someone reads and appreciates toilet walls.....really, it is.

  • Daniel Corbett
    January 22, 2013 - 12:52

    This Old Millionaire Dude from State-Side regularly showed up on the West Coast of the province every other year in his ‘Gi Joe Outfit’ looking to shoot moose with big antlers. His real reason for coming was, in all likelihood, the place and the people he encountered. Here’s part of an exchange between the Dude (they call them Sports on the West Coast) and a friend I truly admire. She remarked in the course of a long conversation “that money was not everything”. The Dude in the ‘Gi Joe Outfit’ came back with “yes you are right, money is not everything, there’s oxygen”. In reality, even the Dude in the ‘Gi Joe Outfit’ was an environmentalist without knowing it, so for God’s sake, stop whining listen to Sheila and plant the trees. If you are really short of space just plant them between the two’s and the four’s.

    • david
      January 22, 2013 - 14:13

      If money means so little to you and "GI Joe", why don't you both step up and pay for all these GD trees? Funny how money means so little to people who have all they need......and how it seems to clearly cause such immense brain damage, too.

  • david
    January 22, 2013 - 11:05

    If governments in Newfoundland had ever been so conscious and sensitive to the value of a tree before St. John's "thieves-disguised-as-econuts" are now, perhaps we would not have begged Abitibi and Bowaters to come to the island and chop every one of them down, thanked them very much for doing it, and gratefully cleaned up their mess just couldn't write this stuff. The "rewriting" of the City of Legends (!) is nothing if not amusing....

  • david
    January 22, 2013 - 10:42

    It isn't a new's just a "new fee joke".

  • Frank Tock
    January 21, 2013 - 18:55

    So if homeowners are forced to purchase and plant trees on their properties at the behest of People's Commissar O'Leary, will the City be liable for any future property damages or personal injury/death that may occur should any of these fully-grown trees get blown over in another Hurricane Igor?

  • My city too
    January 21, 2013 - 17:36

    If I remember correctly Mayor O'Keefe and a number a councillors were opposed to charging $500 for two trees. It was Duff and Hickman with O'Leary leading the charge to infringe on homeowners rights to landscape their property as they choose. A very socialist movement led by OLeary with the attitude I will tell you what's best for you and if you don't agree your wrong... Note she wasn't beating the drum on public consultation on this one.

    • Frank
      January 22, 2013 - 10:03

      This could be a harbinger of things to come if she ever became mayor, god forbid. She will be dictating what color to paint your house...

  • Eastender
    January 21, 2013 - 10:09

    i Like trees..but lots are not real big now and i would like an open space with some shrubs and flowers...why then do i have to pay for trees i dont want??

  • W Bagg
    January 21, 2013 - 09:41

    in Calgary you there is a bylaw stating which kind of trees must be planted in newer subdivisions. Bring it on Sheileigh!

    • david
      January 21, 2013 - 11:38

      When St. John 's is as well-governed, economically diverse and powerful, as sustainable and desireable a place to live as Calgary is, you could post that without looking stupid. But that's not today.

  • Political Watcher
    January 21, 2013 - 09:24

    I am not sure on residential but on commercial properties in Mount Pearl they have the "Tree Tax" as well; imagine, having to plant trees in an industrial property. I know of several businesses in Mount Pearl who planted trees on new properties only to have them killed or broken off after a few snowfalls when the Counilc plows buried them in snow. Guess what, no refunds or replaments were given.

    January 21, 2013 - 09:04

    Nice letter. Glad someone else picked up on how ridiculous this is. I am CERTAIN that council is smart enough to send this to the trash bin as fast as they can. Did you hear her foolishness about this topic? Apparently it will save the city millions of dollars 'down the road' by the trees using the water in the land??? give me a break... By the way, have you noticed how beautiful Clovely is? All those nice trees. Guess what? Those homeowners did not pay a 'tree tax (to the city, im sure the cost was built into the sale)'!!!! SO, my point here is if the queen of the TORDON, and the leader of the "BUTT CAMPAIGN" wants to see a couple trees on every new house built in the city... perhaps she should contact the developer(s) who are responsible for these new areas. OR circle her motion around that idea. Will someone who loves her sit down and tell her that she is not a politician!!!! MAYOR??? God help St. JOHNS

  • Happily Retired
    January 21, 2013 - 08:36

    You're absolutely correct. This is as much about sucking a few more dollars from the homeowners of St. John's as it is about aesthetics. The city has no right to regulate taste. I have no problem with properly maintaining my property, but if I don't like trees as a decoration I shouldn't be forced to grow them. I'm not a tree lover, for practical purposes. They can be dirty, they can damage your foundation, and they can damage your roof. Maple trees are not even indigenous to the province. But heaven forbid that you try to get rid of one because the city arborist seems to have fallen in love with them. However, on a broader note, the city is again defaulting to regulations without considering the homeowner. Why does everybody in the city matter, except the homeowner (taxpayer) It seems that each discussion at city council brings new regulations, then the obligatory fine if a homeowner doesn't comply. What is this obsession with rules and regulations and fines or fees? In the next election, I'll be voting for anybody who runs on a deregulation platform. It certainly won't be any of these clowns.

  • david
    January 21, 2013 - 08:17

    Government is just a more and more transparent fraud, doing little else than sit around scheming of ways to raise more money......with which they accomplish less and less. Instead of paying for more government with fraudulent "tree money", how about thinning out the overgrown, rotten political "forest" at CIty Hall? Lots of deadwood there.

  • Christopher Chafe
    January 21, 2013 - 08:08

    Well said Mr. Spinney, well said!!!!!!!